The best distance running watches

Updated July 20, 2017

Keeping track of long-distance runs is essential for optimizing a runner’s training. Running watches help a runner keep track of his pace and distance as well as his heart rate, allowing him to measure not only how fast and how far he’s run, but also the effort that he’s putting forth. In addition to basic measurements, many running watches also feature alarms that let runners know when their pace is dropping as well as when to refuel during a long run.

Timex Ironman Sleek 150 Lap

Runners who do their long-distance runs on tracks know the difficulty of keeping track of their laps during a workout. With its large viewing area and tap screen, Timex’s Ironman Sleek 150 Lap sport watch allows runners to read the screen while working out and tick off their laps with a tap of the screen. It also keeps track of 150 laps, allowing a runner to view his splits, and as an added bonus for long-distance runners, the Sleek 150 features an alarm that reminds runners when to eat and drink during a long run. Runner's World called the Sleek 150 a “track star,” praising its tap screen and refuelling alarm.

Garmin Forerunner 305

Courses for longer runs can be hard to find, so many long-distance runners are forced to run sections of trails and keep track of their distances to keep up their regimen. Garmin’s Forerunner 305 watch features global positioning system (GPS) tracking capabilities to track a runner’s distance, letting him know his distance as he runs. In addition to distance, the Forerunner 305 tracks a runner’s heart rate and stores workout information, allowing runners to keep track of their progress. Trail Runner called the Forerunner 305 “tailor-made for athletes,” praising it for its workout tracker as well as its ease of use.

Polar RS300x

The Polar RS300x is effective for distance runners who want to keep track of more than pace and distance--it helps runners add heart-rate training into their long-distance runs. Polar’s RS300x watch not only measures speed, distance and heart rate, it also calculates ideal heart-rate goals for runners as they run. The RS300x studies a runner’s heart-rate variability, then sets optimal heart-rate goals for a runner's workout. Runner's World said the RS300x “will get you off on the right foot,” if you want to add heart rate training to your runs.

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About the Author

Billy Brown is an outdoor sports writer living in Northern California. An avid rock climber and trail runner, he's been writing about outdoor activities, fitness and gear since 2005. He regularly contributes to "The Record Searchlight,", and, as well as other print and online publications. Brown holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Simpson University and is a NASM-certified personal trainer.